An Introduction to Eco-Friendly Green Roofs


Environmentally Friendly Roof Philosophy
Green roof is probably not an unfamiliar term nowadays, due to the ever raising ecological awareness and the need to help the environment in any way we can. Beside these motives, there are also some individual and practical ones that may persuade you that an eco-roof is just the thing you need. Namely, this roof type has many benefits beside the previously mentioned one, usually related to its insulating power and attractive and natural look. Well, this is why this just might be the perfect time for an introduction to eco-friendly green roofs.
Before even starting with some green roofs basics, let’s try to persuade you to at least consider covering your home with something that will not only protect your home but also look good. Firstly, know that there is much more to this roof than solely its good looks. The first thing on the list is most definitely its insulation properties and the ability to keep your home warmer during harsh winters but also keep it peaceful, quiet and comfortable, since it also works as a noise barrier, depending on the thickness of the vegetation layer.
Second thing deriving from the first benefit is lower energy consumption and thus lower electricity bills which means some time off for the environment and your budget. If you are getting tired of having to replace your roof covering every once in a while, eco-friendly green roofs can make a significant contribution in this area as well, since they will keep your waterproofing membranes well protected from UV radiation and harmful effects of the weather and temperature fluctuations. Finally, all those of you living in urban and densely populated areas have probably heard of the so called urban heat island effect, showing the temperature changes between urban and rural areas, always resulting in much higher temperatures in urban ones, due to the motorization, mass production and larger population. Well these green beauties can decrease these changes, since they work as great insulators not only during the winter but also the other way around by cooling up the space during summertime.
Green Roof Basics
Now that you are aware of some basic benefits of having a green roof, it is time to get to know with its basic characteristics and types. It consists of a few layers, which all have their functions in usually protecting the layer beneath and making a ground for the layer placed on top. The layers are as follows:
·vegetation layer is made from plants of your choice, depending on the climate, roof structure and its maintenance and can have different thickness influencing its insulation power;
·planting medium layer is probably the most important part of the roof, since it holds nutrients, water retention, air volume and grain size, made from minerals or more often some more absorbent material such as perlite;
·fabric filter layer is placed below as a protection for the planting medium;
·drainage layer is used to supply the substrate with air and water since it holds the drained water from the roof and
·protective layer is placed on top, used to make the roof membrane safe from fertilizers or other potential hazards, made from concrete, plastic or better yet rigid insulation boards.
Now – the classification. Basic green roof types are the so called intensive and extensive roofs. If you expect great insulation results from your roof and the roof structure allow you, intensive green roofs are the thing you need. Although they need more attention when it comes to their maintenance and include more conditions that must be fulfilled, they are more insulating and include greater biodiversity than extensive ones. This makes them perfect for growing food or even making a whole garden for your roof which includes small trees, shrubs or lawns.
On the other hand if you have a large area to cover, do not want to reinforce the roof structure and have only a few plants in mind, like grass or herbs, extensive green roofs should be your choice. They are very easy to install and maintain, lightweight and usually do not include separate irrigation system, so you can make your pick amongst biodiverse extensive roofs, lightweight or super lightweight ones.
Finally, whichever roof you go for, always take some precautions, including whether your roof structure can support the massive vegetation you are planting, how it will affect your roof covering and whether there is a need for additional protection for downpipe outlets and fire protection.